poetics, time, body disruption and marginally queer solutions

Sunday, May 23, 2004

Virginia ban on civil unions could void gays' contracts
By Justin Bergman
Associated Press

RICHMOND, Va. - Gay activists in Virginia think the state's tourist motto -- ``Virginia is for lovers'' -- needs a few extra words: ``Some restrictions apply.''

Gays are angry and even threatening to leave the state over a new law, set to take effect July 1, that will prohibit civil unions and could interfere with contracts between same-sex couples. Some legal experts call it the most restrictive anti-gay law in the nation.

``I won't buy a home in Virginia. I'm done,'' said Bo Shuff, a 30-year-old gay-rights activist who has rented in the Washington, D.C., suburb of Arlington for the past two years.

Added Edna Johnston, a lesbian who has scuttled plans to move her historic-preservation consulting business from Washington to northern Virginia: ``It's not a signal, it's a message: `You're not welcome.' ''


“Dogs and Pigs” No More?
Wilson Johwa

BULAWAYO, May 23 (IPS) - "Worse than dogs and pigs" is how Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe described homosexuals almost a decade ago, when the gay community attempted to highlight widespread homophobia in the Southern African country.

That statement, reported around the world, still reverberates in the country, casting a long shadow over the exercise of sexual freedom. Under Zimbabwean law homosexuality as such is not illegal. But sodomy – narrowly defined as anal sex between men – is.

Yet, in subtle ways, things are also changing. Intolerance, particularly at the official level, seems to have mellowed into indifference. The random and all too frequent arrest of gays appears to have ceased, while the police’s last raid of the Gays and Lesbians Association of Zimbabwe (GALZ) office was in 1996.

"We have a good relationship with our local station," says Keith Goddard, who heads the 400-member organisation. "They treat us with great professionalism."

Furthermore last July, after years of fighting, gays were allowed to set up their own stand at the annual Zimbabwe International Book Fair – no small feat, considering that their presence at the 1995 event caused a fiasco.


Pastors protest gay marriage
By L. Lamor Williams
Star-Telegram Staff Writer

ARLINGTON - Area African-American pastors representing thousands of congregants throughout the Metroplex have joined forces to call for a constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriages.

The 6-week-old Not On My Watch Coalition kicked off its efforts Saturday with a rally at Arlington City Hall, drawing about 1,000 supporters including representatives from Promise Keepers, an international men's ministry.


Scott Simon Essay: Gay Marriage
Weekend Edition - Saturday audio

This week, Massachusetts began permitting gay marriages. NPR's Scott Simon reflects on how these events make us ponder the institution -- and the wonder -- of marriage in general.


Slaying of teenager brought pledges of support for gays
Star-Ledger Staff

A year ago, the death of Sakia Gunn of Newark, a 15-year-old lesbian who was stabbed after she rebuffed a man's advances, served as a coming out of sorts for an often invisible population: urban, minority, gay and lesbian youth.

Hundreds of them went to her funeral and, since then, gay activists have been trying to assist them and their families, including a planned youth center and a support group for parents. The advocates spoke of their plans at a memorial vigil on the first anniversary of Gunn's death, May 11.
"Sakia's death was for many of us the icing on the cake. We are tired of living in closets and we want to stop living in fear of losing our families or our jobs," said La Quetta Nelson, co-chair of the newly formed Newark Pride Alliance, a chapter of a national gay advocacy group. "This little girl was part of something in me. She was African-American and lesbian. I want everyone to remember who she was."

Urban gay teenagers face the same problems as their suburban counterparts, including fear of being harassed or attacked in school, deciding how to tell their parents and trying to find role models, said experts who work with gay youth.


Gay Pride Day rebuffed
By Kellie Schmitt
Mercury News

The Los Altos High School Gay Straight Alliance had hoped to wrap up a strong year with a picnic to celebrate Gay Pride Day.

On June 7, they'll picnic, but without a city proclamation. To students' dismay, the city council rejected their proposal for a Gay Pride Day in Los Altos, opting instead for a Tolerance Day.

``I felt that in a community like Los Altos, gay pride is too divisive and polarizing,'' said Councilman Ron Packard, who wanted the day to be more inclusive. ``I hope the high school students have tolerance for other points of view and don't consider tolerance being a one-way street.''

But the decision offended gay rights organizations and left the student group wondering why the mayor changed his position after assuring them that Gay Pride Day would be an easy sell.


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